Is Catfish Profitable in Ghana?
Ghana’s economy and development are dependent on the role of fisheries. The country’s fish production has been insufficient to meet the growing demand (Quagrainie & Chu 2019, 2019). The country has tried to reduce the excess supply over demand by importing frozen or canned fish products over the years. Imported frozen fish is quite affordable, so this does not encourage smallholder fish farmers from being competitive in terms of price. Akuffo & Quagrainie (1999) report that Ghana has a per capita fish consumption of 22 kg. This makes it one of the most fish-consuming countries in Africa. It also indicates a market for fish merchandise.
Although fish is a popular food (60% of the country’s total protein intake), data shows that the contribution of fish farming to Ghana’s overall fish supply is minimal (Amenyogbe and co., 2018). The country’s total annual fish production, which is mainly comprised of inland and marine fisheries, has been steadily declining over the years. However, the country’s population continues to grow significantly. FAO (2016) reports that the marine fisheries have been decreasing from approximately 420,000 tonnes in 1999, to just over 202,000 tonnes by 2014. This shows that immediate action must be taken to reduce the gap in fish consumption, especially considering the fact that fish farming is one of the main alternatives to boosting fish production.
Because catfish aren’t as sensitive to water quality issues, they have great potential. While tilapia can lose everything if they make a mistake, catfish can live with a wider range of parameters.
It is important to consider the yield. Tilapia can produce between 2300 and 300 cubic grams (115-173 ounces) of flesh in six months. In the same time frame, catfish can reach 700g and a Kilo (between 408 and 578 ounces). It is a great candidate for aquaculture.
Currently, catfish are mostly consumed in Ghana, but the industry is growing, so there is hope that Ghana will be able to export the fish. Barbara Joelley Wahi, WCRF livelihood support manager, says that it will continue to be a profitable venture for aqua farmers.
A kilo of catfish is approximately 12-15 ghana cedis. You can also get up to five kilos. 12 cedis divided by 5 kilos equals 60 cedis. If you have a pond with 5,000 fish and their average weight is between two to five kilos, you can make a lot of money.
Tips to Start a Successful Catfish Farming Business Plan
1. Find out the requirements
It is possible to start a catfish farming business. However, it is much easier to know the essential and primary things that are required for the farm’s success.
Catfish farming can be a flexible, agricultural-based business. However, it requires adequate attention and knowledge.
You need to have a solid understanding of catfish farming. This includes knowing the species and how they live, what the best facilities are for raising them, food that is suitable for them at each stage, as well as their target markets, sales strategies, and other important information.
2. Do your research on the target market
First, find out how many catfish farmers are in your area and what the demand is for catfish.
Before you decide on where to go, meet with restaurants and hotels that may need constant supply of catfishes.
You must understand your target markets as this is an important aspect of starting a business.
You should research your competitors and their customer base. Find out who they sell to and what they do to their customers to help you establish your own catfish farm.
3. Select the Catfish Species
After choosing the catfish species, you should have done the research to find out what catfish are in demand.
Different species of catfish can be used in aquarium business. Get more information about the freshwater and saltwater catfish that are available for aquarium business owners.
The best freshwater catfish species for aquarium are bristlenosepleco and otocinclus catfish.
To ensure a better outcome, you must understand the characteristics and care of each catfish species in order to be able to properly handle them.
You will need to choose the species of catfish that you want. This will affect the type of facility you provide for them. It also depends on the size and operation of the farm, as well as your target market.
Making Your Own Fish Feed By A Fish Feed Extruder
A fish feed extruder not only allows you to greatly reduce the cost of fish feeding, but also you can choose to use local cheap raw materials according to your needs to make cheap and personalized fish feed.
4. Begin with a smaller scale catfish farm
You should think about how you would like to manage the business. In most cases, starting small is better because it will allow you to manage the business efficiently and won’t cause you any losses if the business is in danger.
Then you can expand later.
It is important to note that it takes a lot of capital to start a large aquarium farm. This is why you should not purchase land less than 100 acres. Capital costs will increase with the greater scale of your business.
You can aim high and start small with an inland or fish pond, but this is wise. If you set your primary goal and have high ambitions, you will be able to start small. This will allow you to make a lot of money that can help you build a commercial catfish farm.
If you believe you have enough capital, but no vision, it is a bad way to start. You will not see your business grow. It is important to have a vision. Start small, but work your way up to a large profit.
5. Get the Facilities
You can find suitable land to house your farm business. If you have the money, you can either buy it or rent it out for a start. Then you can purchase one when you make enough profit.
It is important to find out if there are any catfish farmers in the area. This will ensure that you don’t compete with other people, especially those who have established themselves in this business.
When you’re ready to open an aquarium business, the first thing that comes to mind is land. This is where your pond will be located.
It is difficult to build a fish pond by yourself. You can make a pond from concrete, tarpaulin or polyvinylchloride, depending on what you prefer.
For raising your young catfish, you may want to use inland tanks and channels. Because their waste and diseases are not transmitted to the wild, these places are considered safe for the environment.
To avoid fish escapes due to shallowness, consider the depth and the size of your pond.
It is vital to find water sources after your land is constructed. Catfishes require constant water supply from wells or boreholes.
Include all line items necessary for catfish production, such as fuel, electricity and feed.
Plastic containers to collect fishes from the water pond, and one square meter of fishnet as needed are other important items.
6. A healthy Juvenile is a good breed
Never choose fingerling fish, but only standard juvenile fish. The fingerling catfish is the catfish that are between the ages 0 and 4 weeks, while the juvenile catfish is the fish that are between 4 and 8 weeks.
You should stock your pond with quality, healthy juveniles depending on which species you choose. Also, learn about the diseases associated with these fishes as well as how to prevent them.
Begin with a juvenile that is likely to become a table fish in 2 months if they have been given good quality water. It is important to think about their feeding sources and management.
If you begin with healthy juvenile catfish species, provide them with clean, healthy water, and adequate food, you will see a better outcome than you could have imagined.
7. Separate Genders
The fishes have been raised in a healthy fish tank. However, it is important to watch them grow each week. To reduce aggression, it is best to separate the catsexes.
Female catfish may make aggressive behavior in other genders if they are present in the pond.
You first need to identify their sexes. Then, select the female catfishes and place them in separate ponds.
8. Environmental and Health Factors
To ensure their good health, catfish must adhere to a strict medication regime.
You must keep an eye out for signs or symptoms of disease in all fishes that you have caught.
You must immediately take the necessary steps to prevent or treat them once you notice them.
It is important to know the right chemicals for your pond. The Food and Drug Administration has approved some chemicals to help with water and fish diseases.
If you are required to inject fish, make sure to do your research to find the best medicine and the correct place to inject it.
Some approved chemicals for treating fish diseases include povidone-iodine and formalin. You can still research how to use each one and what to do with them.
9. Consistent and optimal feeding
It is important to feed fish daily with quality, rich food that promotes healthy growth. The quality of the feed that fish are given is a major factor in their growth.
It is important for catfish farmers to feed their fishes daily, especially in the early stages until they reach the juvenile stage.
Quality feed is essential for catfish growth.
10. Construct a Feasibility report
To help you determine if your vision is being realized, create a detailed report on your farm. It can be on a weekly basis, monthly basis or annually.
Your farm’s feasibility report should detail the capital invested, the expenses on necessary items and facilities like labor, supplies, repairs, utilities, as well as your profit.
This type of budget will allow you to see the future business vision.
11. Get ideas from potential catfish farmers around
You may know of other catfish farmers in the area you are operating your catfish farming business. To get the best ideas, you need to meet with them.
Because the farmer is in the business for years, he will have learned the tricks and have access to a ready market.
A ready market can be created where your fish will be sold to the catfish farmer or his customers. If there are no customers you want, you can keep the grown fishes in your pond.
12. Analyze the Cost Of Return On Investment (ROI).
Any startup can use the analysis and calculation of return on investment to determine if it was profitable so far and if it is likely to continue.
This is where you need to evaluate the cost-benefit ratio of catfish farming. This will determine if the catfish farming is profitable. This is also known as profitability analysis for catfish farming.
It is possible to make a lot of money by starting a catfish fish farm. This is a good idea.
However, fishes require exceptional care and management. This includes what they eat and how they drink.
How Much to Start a Fish Farm in Ghana?
The cost of raising fish can vary depending on whether you are setting up an indoor or outdoor pond. A pond can be built for between $3,000 to $10,000. Indoor tanks are usually less costly, ranging from $1,000 to $3,000
Let’s start with the most basic requirements for raising fish: oxygen, water, and food.
You will need oxygen – indoors and outdoors, you will need an oxygen recirculating system or aeration device. An aeration system can be used for each tank and pond. It will cost you between $1,000 and $3500. A water recirculating system that integrates with your tank or pond can be quite expensive, anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000.
Water – A minimum flow rate of 15 gallons/minute per surface acre is required. This cost is much higher if you use metered water. A good well is required.
Food – You can easily find commercial feed pellets and fish meal. Feed is 70% of the operational cost. Large scale fish farms may produce their own fish meal or fish food pellets. Artificially-fed fish are raised. Smaller fish can be fed to salmon and other fish.
For every acre of land, expect to pay about $2,000 if you are building a pond.
After meeting your basic needs, you will need to calculate the cost for insurance. A comprehensive policy will ensure that you are covered in the event of “crop” loss. Fish can become extinct from disease or be killed by mechanical or electrical equipment.
Things to consider before you start
As with land-based crops, the conditions should be closely monitored and adjusted throughout the entire process.
Inflow and outflow
A pond should have a flow rate of 15-25 gallons per hour. Keep outflow and inflow free from debris.
Sometimes, ponds should be drained to remove vegetation and drench out mud.
All kinds of health problems can affect fish, including fungi and intestinal worms as well as bacteria and protozoa.
Fish lice, also known as sea lice, can cause havoc. Sea lice, particularly salmon lice, can attach to the skin of fish and spread via water. The sea lice can spread through water and infect wild fish populations.
Some duck species eat plants while others eat fish. Ducks and geese can pose a greater threat to fish than other species. They are part the life cycle common fish parasites.
Storm water runoff can lead to poor water quality, particularly during heavy rains. Anything found on the ground can be washed into outdoor fish-ponds.
Fish will die if they have no water.
There is space between the ponds
To move and drive equipment to feed fish or harvest fish, you need enough space between the ponds. Maintenance may be required, particularly to the inflow or outflow. These areas should be easily accessible with heavy equipment.
You should ensure that your fish are kept in their enclosures if you farm outdoors. You can eliminate the possibility of wild fish becoming invasive species or spreading disease to wild fish populations by keeping farm fish in their enclosures.